(Adds reaction from anti-abortion group, details)
By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND Dec 13 Republican Governor John
Kasich signed a 20-week abortion ban into law on Tuesday but
vetoed stricter legislation that would have forbidden the
procedure once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as
six weeks after conception.
Kasich, an abortion opponent, said in a statement that the
proposed six-week legislation would be contrary to U.S. Supreme
Court rulings on abortion, opening the state to potentially
costly legal battles, and the veto was "in the public interest."
"I agree with Ohio Right to Life and other leading, pro-life
advocates that SB 127 is the best, most legally sound and
sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life,"
Kasich said in a statement on the 20-week law, which lawmakers
approved last week.
Neither of the measures made exceptions for rape or incest,
although both allow for abortions that would save the mother's
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide more
than four decades ago, but states were allowed to permit
restrictions once a fetus was viable. Some states, particularly
those governed by Republicans such as Ohio, have sought to
More than 10 states have put 20-week abortion bans in place,
but federal courts in Arizona and Idaho have ruled them
Under current law, Ohio prohibits abortion once a fetus is
considered viable outside the womb, which is from 24 to 26 weeks
Lower courts have struck down stricter "heartbeat" laws,
like the one Kasich vetoed on Tuesday, in North Dakota and
Arkansas. The Supreme Court refused to hear appeals on those
rulings in January.
Kasich's decisions quickly drew criticism from both
anti-abortion and abortion rights organizations.
"John Kasich is treating women's health care like a game,"
Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio,
said in a statement after the signing.
"He thinks that by vetoing one abortion ban Ohioans will not
notice that he has signed another. The 20-week abortion ban
callously disregards the unique circumstances that surround a
Meanwhile, anti-abortion group Faith2Action, called Kasich's
veto of the six-week ban a "betrayal of life," and urged
supporters to call lawmakers to try to persuade them to override
At least three-fifths of the members of both the
Republican-led state House of Representatives and the state
Senate would have to vote in favor of overriding the governor's
veto in order to overturn it.
(Writing by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; editing by Dan
Grebler and Jonathan Oatis)